Google today announced Calico, a new company that will focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases. Are they going to be the new Genentech? Not exactly. Not much info offered about the new venture- but Business Insider and Time reported (both long, worthy reads, if for nothing more you get the inside scoop on Google X and Sergey Brin’s definition of what a “moonshot” idea is– very interesting and 80% of what the Time piece focuses on vs. Calico).
Quoting Time: “What’s certain is that looking at medical problems through the lens of data and statistics, rather than simply attempting to bring drugs to market, can produce startlingly counterintuitive opinions. It’s a lot easier to take Google’s venture seriously if you live under the invisible dome over Silicon Valley, home to a worldview whereby, broadly speaking, there is no problem that can’t be addressed by the application of liberal amounts of technology and everything is solvable if you reduce it to data and then throw enough processing power at it.”
Google is holding details of Calico close to the vest but sources close to the project suggest it will start small and focus entirely on researching “new technologies” and use its’ core data-handling skills to shed new light on familiar age-related maladie. Ah, new technologies. There we have it.
“There’s tremendous potential for technology more generally to improve people’s lives.”
My prediction—Clearly Google now has a company to invest in health tech and will be an acquisition powerhouse for all things digital health.
Trends in health tech funding and acquisitions gain momentum; all eyes on digital health
With 2013 heath tech investments topping 2012—this move by Google doesn’t surprise me. Who wouldn’t a piece of this booming vertical? Rock Health recently published their mid-year insights & trends report for digital health funding: $849M invested in 90 different companies. This is 12% more money and 25% more deal volume than this time last year.
Jawbone acquiring Massive Health in February followed by BodyMedia in April—and then Nutrivise in August, and just a few days ago announced they received 100M in new funding to keep up with the demand for wearable technology. Additionally, 38 digital health companies/products raised $4.5M+ across crowdfunding platforms Indiegogo, Kickstarter and Medstartr thus far in 2013.
Foundation for success
Their CEO and founding investor Arthur D. Levinson is at the helm—his background firmly rooted in science & tech (ie: Chairman and former CEO of Genentech and Chairman Apple) sounds like a recipe for success.
It’s a good time to be a digital health startup in Silicon Valley (or Mountain View). As the time article stated “Who the hell else is going to do it?” Couldn’t agree more. Well done Google and good luck!